Yesterday, we shared with you an article written by the Southern Teaching Unit staff in Melbourne. We heard about how their approach to health and media literacy education has not only given students an understanding of the negative impact of narrow, stereotyped representations of women, but has also empowered them to take action.
The students have been campaigning against the Lingerie Football League's introduction to Australia.
Their petition Triple M: stop the promotion and support of a Lingerie Football League in Australia has accumulated almost 1800 signatures.
Nova Stewardson attended the Southern Teaching Unit in late 2011 and is now at Mornington Secondary College. She stays in touch with the Unit as she thrived in their environment. We asked Nova to share with us her views about the campaign and how she came to be involved.
Can you tell us how you first heard about the Lingerie Football League?
I first saw the LFL on pay TV, at a friend’s house in year 7. Our first thought was that it was porn and we just changed the channel. Through my contact with the Southern Teaching Unit, I have recently realised that they want to bring it to this country which I am furious about.
What bothered you about the lingerie football league?
The league is so degrading, and sexist. It’s mixing sport with porn. It’s just insulting that these so called “athletes” are only recognised because they are more than half naked. There’s no option, you either play in your undies, or you don’t play at all; it’s ridiculous. It’s porn, pretending to be women’s sport. There are so many athletic amazing women out there that aren’t being recognised. It’s just so ridiculous that there are people taking this sport seriously enough to make it a public thing.
Did you know how to go about challenging the LFL? Did someone help you?
As an ex-student I wasn’t really involved in building the campaign in the beginning but have joined in now.
I should probably tell you a little of my history. I was a student here a couple of groups ago and the Unit was a great experience for me.
The influences on my opinion has a lot to do with the feminist attitude in the STU’s teaching and their choice of lessons. They actually teach a whole unit of work on the portrayal of gender in the media, and although being already exposed to this with my mum’s attitude, it really switched me on to these subjects in a big way.
Through my association with the Unit and my newly impassioned beliefs on pornography, I had the fortunate experience of being a guest speaker on the SBS tv show Insight. ( Watch online ) It was on the subject of pornography and its influences on this generation; how almost everything we see today is pornography, and we don’t even seem to notice a thing, as we just see so much of it in music videos, and advertising etc. It’s just so easily accessible. Kids are being exposed to porn at a younger and younger age.
Anyway, my mum and I still keep in touch with the Unit and I come back every now and again for a bit of extra nurturing…. and I saw that the kids and the teachers were pretty annoyed about the LFL and so I started to think a lot more about it too.
How do you feel about speaking out?
I feel it’s really important that we don’t let this blow over everyone’s heads, and we stop it for what it is before it affects more people, and more communities. If we give this the okay, then what’s next? That scares me.
What would you like to see happen with the LFL and women’s sport?
I would like to see it just stop. It is setting a bad example for girls in particular and, quite frankly, it’s embarrassing. To call it sport is just insulting to our sportswomen and the community in general. It’s also useless. I just can’t see what good it can do except to make some people rich.
Any other info you would like to tell us about?
The unit of work here at the STU was really good for kids who are growing up in a generation that think it is normal for women to be sexualised all the time. It helped them be able to understand things from a diifferent point of view. A lot of kids have never heard these opinions or get this kind of education. It’s not like they would probably hear these opinions growing up in their house. Personally, I find it frustrating that the kids back at mainstream school just have no idea; it’s like they are ignorant. There’s a lot of sexual harassment and no-one even notices it; the girls think it is flirting. The boys yell out things in the playground and nobody thinks anything of it.
Thank you Nova! Your willingness to speak out is an encouragement for all of us to do the same. Keep up the great work.
Please support Nova and the other students and staff at STU, by signing and sharing this petition.
Triple M: Stop the promotion and support of a Lingerie Football League in Australia